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1 item from 1992

'Forever Young'

7 December 1992 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

There's a softer, but no less tenacious Mel Gibson in ''Forever Young, '' a fantasy romance which should garner both bricks and bouquets from viewers, depending on where they draw the cute/cutesy, sentiment/sediment line. Yet, even those who think ''Forever Young'' is complete slush will admit its holiday powers as a romance booster.

''Forever Young'' should present Warner Bros. with glowing numbers, mainly from female viewers. Powder room word-of-mouth that Gibson flashes his tush should alone account for an extra $10 million domestic. Even males, not turned away by the drippy title, but shrewdly attuned to its date-night potential, should find the film a pleasant enough endurance.

This time out Gibson's acting crazy not because he's dodging bullets or ducking Joe Pesci but because he's swoonily in love. It's 1939 and he's a daredevil test pilot who's madly in love. But he can't muster the courage to pop the big question and before he can get it out, the apple of his eye (Isabel Glasser) is run down by a big truck, reduced to a never-ending coma.

Rather than endure the torment, and hoping someday to reunite with her, Daniel agrees to be a guinea pig in a longevity experiment. He's put on ice to be resurrected someday in the future, but Army efficiency causes him to be lost for more than 50 years in a warehouse, accidentally freed in 1992 by a couple of mischievous kids.

With his resurrection, the film plummets into the familiar person-from-another-time-period genre, as pre-World War II Daniel encounters the 1990s. Indeed, ''Forever Young'' is largely a cop-out as a love story: It's only a love story in its beginning and ending; in between, it's a character-out-of-time quest movie -- Daniel encounters answering machines, ad predictum. Narratively, this romancer is so cinematically derivative it seems to have been something concocted by film schoolers who have only movie genres, rather than real life, to serve them as their romantic guideposts.

Nonetheless, screenwriter Jeffrey Abrams' facile love scenario is also stoked with winningly tender moments and revived by humorous flashes. While milking every scene to its maximum emotional effect, director Steve Miner manages to maintain a credible balance between the film's melodramatic excesses and its genuine heart.

Mel Gibson's moony performance is the film's highlight and saving grace -- a dewy, fiery combination that conveys perfectly the conflicted energy of love. Glasser is appropriately entrancing as his lost love. Jamie Lee Curtis does a nice turn as a love-starved single mother who is resilient enough to withstand Daniel's knight-in-shining-armor entrance into her life.

Tech contributions are superb. Cinematographer Russell Boyd's solidly golden hues and production designer Gregg Fonseca's sharp period sets kindle the romantic mood, while Aggie Guerard Rodgers' meat-and-potatoes costumes nicely convey an Americana feel to the film's diverse periods.


Warner Bros.

An Icon Production

In association with Edward S. Feldman

A Steve Miner Film

Producer Bruce Davey

Director Steve Miner

Screenwriter Jeffrey Abrams

Executive producers Jeffrey Abrams, Edward S. Feldman

Director of photography Russell Boyd

Production designer Gregg Fonseca

Editor Jon Poll

Music Jerry Goldsmith

Costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers

Casting Marion Dougherty



Daniel ... Mel Gibson

Claire ... Jamie Lee Curtis

Nat ... Elijah Wood

Helen ... Isabel Glasser

Harry ... George Wendt

Cameron ... Joe Morton

John ... Nicolas Surovy

Wilcox ... David Marshall Grant

Felix ... Robert Hy Gorman

Running time -- 105 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

(c) The Hollywood Reporter


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